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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Knocking the Rust Off

On September 19, the UMass Boston Women’s Tennis program opened their 11th season against long time rivals UMass Dartmouth. This was a special contest because it was unclear whether or not there would be a women’s tennis season after Coach David McBurny resigned two weeks before the season opener due to what was believed to be a lack of motivation to coach the women’s squad after a successful season as the men’s tennis head coach. The women’s hockey assistant coach, Kristin Cirbus, agreed to take the helm of this very young and virtually untested women’s tennis team despite having very little experience in the game herself.

The only two seniors on this squad, Jill Halvorson (from Quincy, MA) and Denise B. Ridge (from Milton, MA) led their team of six untested rookies into battle against a group of seasoned and well trained athletes in the team from UMass Dartmouth. In the doubles match-up, Halvorson and Ridge were paired up against UMass Dartmouth aces Becky Bullock (a sophomore from King Phillips Academy) and Katie Haepers (a senior from Wilmington, MA). Bullock and Haepers quickly dismissed Halvorson and Ridge 8-1, serving up two aces and six second return winners.

The only bright spot in the doubles match-ups was the play of two of the new bright stars on the team, Emily Johnson (a sophomore transfer from University of New Hampshire) and Julie Circosta (a freshman from Rutland, MA). Together these two ladies returned 70% of their opponents’ serves, had three aces, and only two unforced errors.

In the singles matches, both Circosta and Halvorson were significantly overmatched by their competition from Dartmouth. A dejected Halvorson commented after the match, “it was kind of sad the way I played out there. With no practice and no off-season training I was very tired and out of shape.” Circosta had a more positive outlook on her performance saying, “it’s been tough these pass few weeks, but I know we’re going to be successful.”

Emily Johnson defeated her opponent, UMass Dartmouth captain Katie Haepers, in straight sets to take the only victory of the day. Haepers admitted that Johnson was a far more experienced player then most of her teammates and that she underestimated the younger girls play. Ridge, hurting from an arm injury sustained in last year’s basketball season, pushed UMass Dartmouth’s top player Becky Bullock to three sets, but in the end the pain was to great for her to overcome and she ended up losing the match 5-7, 6-3, 1-6. Afterwards Ridge admitted that she was in pain, but would not let that hold her back from her quest to seek her second Little East Title since her freshman year. Most of the members on the UMass Dartmouth squad admitted to “playing down” to the level of their UMass Boston counterparts, while hailing the Lady Beacons performances as solid. Head coach Ralph Perry of UMass Dartmouth said “I expected today to be a good match-up. Denise and Emily are good players and when Denise knocks the rust off she will be at the top of the conference.”